Friday, April 6, Eyewitness News at 6

10:25 PM, Apr 6, 2012   |    comments
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HELLO EVERYONE AND THANKS FOR JOINING US....I'M LORRA LYNCH JONES.
AND I'M LEAH JOHNSON
THIS IS EYEWITNESS NEWS AT SIX...

ONE YEAR AGO TODAY... A HAWKINSVILLE MARINE SET OUT ON A MISSION TO CLEAR EXPLOSIVES IN A NORTHERN AFGHAN TOWN.
HE LEFT THAT DAY FILLED WITH THE PRIDE OF JUST BECOMING A FATHER.. HIS SON BORN THE NIGHT BEFORE.
TONY MULLIS WOULD NOT COME BACK FROM THAT MISSION THE SAME MAN... BUT HE DID MAKE IT TO THE ONLY PLACE HE EVER WANTS TO BE... HOME.
<<nats-
THIS SPOT AT HAWKINSVILLE HIGH SCHOOL.. BRINGS BACK MANY MEMORIES FOR TONY AND JEANNE MULLIS.
(42:25) "Just brings back my childhood, hanging out with my friends here."
IT'S WHERE THEY MET... AND WHERE THEY WANT THEIR SON (quick nat- Cason)... WHO TURNED A YEAR OLD THURSDAY.... TO GO TO SCHOOL.
nats- (16:05) "hotdog song, cason bangs"
INSEPARABLE NOW... TONY HEARD CASON'S FIRST CRIES OVER A SATELLITE PHONE... IN AFGHANISTAN.
Tony Mullis: (46:55) "It was sad, because I wasn't there, but I was happy because I have son."
THE NEXT DAY... A BOMB BLAST DURING A MISSION TO SECURE A BUNKER... NEARLY STOLE HIS CHANCE AT THE HONOR.
(49:50) "I was conscious the whole time. I remember everything. As soon as it went off. I hit the roof, landed on my back. I was looking at my body to see what all was physically wrong. I knew everything done went wrong."
HE SAW THAT THE BOMB SEVERED BOTH LEGS FROM HIS BODY.
Tony Mullis: (51:30) "I realize, oh man, I'm an amputee." (cover- 52:15) "I didn't care if God wanted to take me, if it was time, I just wanted to see my son and wife, one time."
nats- with family
HE GOT THE CHANCE FOR MUCH MORE.
nats- showing legs
FIVE MONTHS AFTER THE EXPLOSION... DOCTORS GAVE HIM A GIFT HE ONCE TOOK FOR GRANTED.
Tony Mullis: (55:30) "When I got them, I was excited. It was like Christmas."
BUT LEARNING TO USE THEM.. FELT MORE LIKE TORTURE.
Tony Mullis: (52:88) "I hurt, it was hard to get used to the legs. It was the pain. It made you want to give-up."
HE FOUND IT EASIER TO SKIP REHAB AT THE NAVAL HOSPITAL IN MARYLAND... AND PLAY WITH CASON ON THE GROUND... THEN HE SAW... WHY HE NEEDED TO GET UP.
Tony Mullis: (58:00) "He used to walk on his knees. I think he used to copy me, because I'd get on the floor and walk on my knubs."
nats- walking
A LOT OF STUMBLES... AND FEW FALLS LATER... FATHER AND SON STOOD-UP TOGETHER.
(57:45) "Now, I'm able to hold his hand and walk with him. It's awesome to be able to do that. I can pick him up and hold him and walk. I trust myself. I trust my legs."
WALKING RESTORED HIS CONFIDENCE... AND HIS HUMOR.
Tony Mullis: (4:20) "We play around. We do that whole Lt. Dan thing, where he slaps his leg and like this is titanium maloid (laughs). We do that all the time."
HE'S GOT PLENTY OF CHANCES. HE NOW CHOOSES FROM SIX DIFFERENT PAIRS OF LEGS.
Tony Mullis: (59:50) "I have to change out legs, depending on what I'm doing. Instead of changing shoes, I change legs."
HE CALLS THESE HIS RUNNING LEGS.
nats- running
AND AT LEAST FOR A LITTLE WHILE HE'S OUTPACING HIS COMPETITION.
nats- Cason
AND HIS INSPIRATION.
nats-
STD>> THE MULLIS' ARE HOME IN HAWKINSVILLE FOR A FEW WEEKS... BUT WILL RETURN TO THE HOSPITAL IN MARYLAND.
TONY STILL HAS ABOUT FOUR MONTHS OF REHAB.
HE SAYS ONCE HE'S DISCHARGED FROM THE MARINES... A VETERANS ORGANIZATION HAS OFFERED TO BUILD THEM A HOME IN HAWKINSVILLE.
MULLIS WANTS TO START A HUNTING SHOW... WITH TWO OTHER AMPUTEES... TO SHOW OTHER WOUNDED WARRIORS THAT ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.

INVESTIGATORS BUSTED A "HEAD" SHOP IN HAWKINSVILLE FOR SELLING SYNTHETIC MARIJUANA AND ARRESTED THREE PEOPLE.. INCLUDING THE SHOP'S OWNER.
ACCORDING TO JAMIE JONES.. COMMANDER OF THE OCONEE DRUG TASK.. G-B-I AGENTS AND PULASKI COUNTY DEPUTIES VISITED CYBER HIPPY AND TOLD THEM SYNTHETIC MARIJUANA WAS ILLEGAL AND TO STOP SELLING IT.
THE LAW IMMEDIATELY WENT INTO EFFECT AFTER GOVERNOR NATHAN DEAL SIGNED IT LAST WEEK.
THE G-B-I THEN SENT AN UNDERCOVER AGENT WHO WAS ABLE TO PURCHASE THE SUBSTANCE SEVERAL TIMES.
AGENTS ARRESTED THE SHOP'S OWNER.. 52 YEAR OLD PAMELA WHETZEL.. HER HUSBAND.. 69 YEAR OLD GEORGE WHETZEL.. AND AN EMPLOYEE.. 40 YEAR OLD EVA MARIE MURPHY.
ALL THREE ARE CHARGED WITH POSSESSION WITH INTENT TO DISTRIBUTE A CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE AND SELLING A CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE.
INVESTIGATOR JONES SAYS.. THEY SEIZED MORE THAN A THOUSAND PACKETS OF THE SYNTHETIC MARIJUANA..... A SMALL AMOUNT OF REAL MARIJUANA.. AND 31-THOUSAND DOLLARS.
HE EXPECTS MORE CHARGES AS THE INVESTIGATION CONTINUES.

WE HAVE NEW INFORMATION ABOUT THE HOODIE INCIDENT AT RUTLAND MIDDLE SCHOOL.
VIEWERS SENT E-MAILS THROUGHOUT THE WEEK.... TALKING ABOUT SOME RUMORS GOING AROUND.
AUSTIN LEWIS HAS MORE ON WHAT SCHOOL LEADERS SAYS HAPPENED TO SPARK TENSION AT THE SCHOOL.
<<
The incident was investigated by a team of school administrators, campus police and risk managment. David Gowan, the director of risk managment for Bibb county schools said it all started with a student cutting the hood off a hoodie Tuesday during homeroom.
David Gowan: The original motivation was to replicate a darth vader paper mask. The original motivation was not in any way related to the KKK.
The hood also had eyes cut out and it was white. Another student pointed out that it looked like a KKK mask and the students then threw it away. Gowan says the mask was then seen in a PE class and an eighth grade social studies class.
David Gowan, Director of Risk Management: Another eighth grade student displayed it in an eighth grade social studies class, where by coincidence they were discussing the KKK for the Goergia Performance Standards and the teacher immediately ordered the student to take that off and the student immediately complied.
Gowan says their investigation indicated that one student physically put on the mask. I asked if that one student said any racially insensitive comments. Gowan says no.
Gowan: There is nothing in the report that they said anything....(cover with video) I have no reports that it was worn in the hall, it was taken to the PE class, and it was taken to the social studies class it was originally trhown away in the homeroom class.
Rutland Middle School Parents received a letter detailign the incident. Austin Lewis 13WMAZ eyewitness news.,
>> GOWAN SAYS NO WEAPONS OR OTHER CRIMINAL ACTIVITY HAPPENED AT THE SCHOOL.
YOU CAN READ A LETTER SENT HOME TO PARENTS ON OUR WEBSITE.... 13WMAZ DOT COM.

TO CLEAR UP SOME CONFUSION... THERE *WILL* BE AN EASTER EGG HUNT AT CENTRAL CITY PARK TOMORROW MORNING.
THE FLAMING KNIGHTS MOTORCYCLE CLUB WILL HIDE ALMOST 16-THOUSAND EGGS THIS YEAR.
SOME BOILED... A FEW CANDY... AND EVEN EGGS WITH SURPRISES IN THE MIDDLE.
ORGANIZERS SAY THE LUCKY HUNTER WHO FINDS THE BIG GOLDEN EGG WILL RECEIVE A LARGE CASH PRIZE.
FOLKS CAN START THEIR SEARCH AT 11 O'CLOCK.... AND THINGS WILL WRAP UP AT 4.
THIS IS THE FLAMING KNIGHTS 28th ANNUAL EASTER EVENT.
TO FIND MORE EASTER EGG HUNTS IN YOUR COMMUNITY... VISIT YOUR WHERE YOU LIVE SITE.. ON 13WMAZ DOT COM.

MACON COULD SOON BE ON THE UPSWING TO REVITALIZING A COUPLE DOWNTOWN PROPERTIES.
LAST WEEK... TWO SITES IN MACON RECIEVED AN OPPORTUNITY ZONE DESIGNATION.
AS AMY AUBERT SHOWS YOU... FOLKS SAY THIS COULD BE THE START OF BRINGING MORE BUSINESS... DOWNTOWN.
<<
Nats, cars

IF YOU'VE DRIVEN THROUGH DOWNTOWN MACON...

Nats, cars

YOU'VE PROBABLY SPOTTED WHAT'S LEFT OF AN OLD HOTEL.

Nats, Alex Morrison: "This is the Ramada Plaza building, it was most recently a Ramada built as a Hilton about 50 years ago."

ALEX MORRISON IS THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE MACON-BIBB URBAN DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY... HE SAYS THE RAMADA HAS SAT CHAINED OFF... FOR ABOUT A YEAR.

HE SAYS GETTING THE 200 ROOM HOTEL BACK ON ITS FEET... WILL INITIATE AN OVERALL DOWNTOWN REVITALIZATION.

Alex Morrison, Executive Director: "You're getting that much more traffic, that many more people who are looking to eat out, who are looking to shop, looking to have entertainment right in the downtown area."

BOTH THE RAMADA AND THE TOWN AND COUNTRY SHOPPING CENTER GOT OPPORTUNITY ZONE DESIGNATIONS.
MORRISON SAYS IT ENCOURAGES NEW BUSINESS IN THOSE LOCATIONS... BY OFFERING A 35 HUNDRED DOLLAR TAX CREDIT... FOR EACH JOB CREATED... WITH A MINIMUM OF TWO NEW JOBS.

Amy Aubert: "That tax credit means if the hotel created 300 jobs, times a 3500 tax credit per job, over the course of 5 years, it would equal 5.25 million dollars in tax credits."

Morrison: "What the city is trying to communicate is we want redevelopment in this area."

MORRISON SAYS THEY'RE IN TALKS WITH SEVERAL BUILDERS... TO BRING THE RAMADA BACK TO LIFE.

Morrison: "I really think that turning this property into a functioning hotel again, getting the new folks into the area, is going to be a key piece to the overall redevelopment of downtown Macon."

HE CALLS IT A STEP FORWARD... FOR TWO LOCATIONS... THAT COULD BRING TRAFFIC... PEOPLE... AND BUSINESS... BACK TO THE AREA.

AMY AUBERT 13 WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS.
>> MORRISON SAYS THEY APPLIED FOR THE DESIGNATION BACK IN JANUARY.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA SAYS THE U-S JOB MARKET WILL STILL FACE UPS AND DOWNS.
THAT COMES AFTER NEWS THAT THE ECONOMY ADDED 120 THOUSAND JOBS LAST MONTH.
MARCH EMPLOYMENT NUMBERS WERE DOWN FROM THE MORE THAN 200 THOUSAND JOBS ADDED EACH OF THE PREVIOUS THREE MONTHS.
THE NATIONAL UNEMPLOYMENT RATE DIPPED TO 8-POINT-2 PERCENT... MOSTLY BECAUSE MORE AMERICANS STOPPED LOOKING FOR WORK.
OUR FACEBOOK FANS ARE DISCUSSING WHETHER THEY'RE STARTING TO SEE SIGNS OF ECONOMIC IMPROVEMENT.
DEBBIE WROTE... "VERY SLOWLY. PEOPLE ARE KIND OF SCARED TO TRUST IT YET. SPENDING [IS] INCREASING SOME, BUT IT'S BECAUSE OF SPRING BREAK AND WANTING TO DO THINGS CLOSER TO HOME..."
SYLVIA COMMENTED... "NO! IT IS GETTING WORSE! PEOPLE CAN BARELY AFFORD GAS TO GO LOOK FOR JOBS, OR IF THEY HAVE A JOB THEN IT'S LIKE THEY ARE WORKING ONLY TO PAY FOR GAS BECAUSE THE GAS PRICES KEEP RISING!"
AND DEWAYNE SAID... "IT'S MUCH BETTER THAN IT WAS THREE YEARS AGO, BUT THAT'S NORMAL. WE CYCLE UP AND DOWN. THE PRESIDENT HAS LITTLE TO DO WITH THE ECONOMY. BUSH DIDN'T MAKE IT GO DOWN ALONE AND OBAMA CAN'T MAKE IT GO UP. IT'S A CYCLE. IT'S BOUND TO GO UP SOMETIME."
JOIN THE CONVERSATION BY VISITING FACEBOOK DOT COM SLASH 13WMAZ.

TODAY'S 13WMAZ DOT COM WEB POLL ASKS... DO YOU BELIEVE THE ECONOMY IS IMPROVING?
SO FAR 79 PERCENT OF YOU SAY NO... IT'S NOT.
AND 21 PERCENT SAY YES... YOU THINK THE ECONOMY IS SHOWING SOME IMPROVEMENT.
VOTE NOW... LOOK FOR THE QUESTION ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE HOMEPAGE AT 13WMAZ DOT COM.

TOXIC SUBSTANCES NOT BEING IDENTIFIED AND ADEQUATE HANDWAHSING FACILITIES NOT ACCESSIBLE... THAT'S JUST A COUPLE OF VIOLATIONS FOR SEVERAL CENTRAL GEORGIA EATERIES...
BRITTINY BARBER HAS THIS WEEK'S RESTAURANT RATINGS.
WE'RE BACK IN HOUSTON COUNTY THIS WEEK...STARTING OFF WITH OUR LOWEST SCORES....
MCDONALDS AT 14-13 SAM NUNN BLVD IN PERRY... SCORED AN 80... A "B". COMING IN AFTER A 99 OR AN A".... THEY SCORED ON THEIR LAST INSPECTION.
THE HEALTH INSPECTOR SAYS THE PROPER COOLING TIME AND TEMPERATURE WAS NOT USED FOR FOODS..
HE ALSO SAYS TOXIC SUBSTANCES WERE NOT PROPERLY IDENTIFIED... STORED... AND USED.
WELLSTON DINER ON WATSON BLVD... SCORED AN 77... A "C"... THAT'S AFTER THEY RECEIVED A 90 OR AN "A" ON THEIR LAST REPORT.
IT SAYS ADEQUATE HANDWASHING FACILITIES WERE NOT SUPPLIED AND ACCESSIBLE... WHICH IS A KNOWN RISK FOR FOODBORNE ILLNESS.
AND KIPPER'S SPORTS GRILL AT 40-25 WATSON BLVD... SCORED A 67 OR A "U".. THAT'S AFTER A 98 OR "A" ON THEIR LAST INSPECTION..
THE REPORT SAYS THERE WAS IMPROPER EATING... TASTING... DRINKING OR TOBACCO USE IN THE KITCHEN AREA... AND THAT'S A KNOWN RISK FACTOR FOR FOODBORNE ILLNESSES.
NOW FOR A LOOK THE TOP SCORES OF THE WEEK..
AMERICAN DELI ALSO ON WATSON BLVD... BROUGHT IN A 97 OR AN "A".. ON THEIR LAST INSPECTION THEY SCORED A 90.. WHICH IS ALSO AN "A"
DAIRY QUEEN ON GENERAL COURTNEY HODGES BLVD IN PERRY RECEIVED A 100... THAT'S AFTER A 100 ON THEIR LAST REPORT.
AND ANNA'S ASIAN CAFE11-17 HIGHWAY 96 IN KATHLEEN SCORED A 96 WHICH IS AN A".. THEY BROUGHT IN A 100 ON THEIR LAST INSPECTION.
JOIN US AGAIN TONIGHT AS WE AVERAGE OUR NOMINEES PAST FIVE SCORES TO GIVE YOU THIS WEEK'S GOLDEN SPATULA WINNER.... BACK TO YOU
FOR ALL YOUR RESTAURANT RATINGS... GO TO OUR WEBSITE 13WMAZ DOT COM.
YOU'LL FIND THE RESTAURANT RATINGS LINK UNDER THE FEATURES TAB.

THANKS FOR JOINING US.... WE'LL BE BACK TONIGHT AT 11.
BUT REMEMBER...THE NEWS IS ALWAYS ON AT 13WMAZ.COM !
THE EVENING NEWS IS UP NEXT.
HAVE A SAFE NIGHT EVERYONE.

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